Official release from Indiana University
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana used a 27-3 run midway during the game to pull away as the Hoosiers improved to 3-0 for the first time in four years with a 71-54 win over Mississippi Valley State (0-2), Tuesday night in Assembly Hall. It was the third game in five days for IU, and fourth in eight counting an exhibition game on November 8.
"Again, another night when things weren't really going for us offensively, especially early, they kept going with the defense and then we had an excellent run," said IU Coach Tom Crean, who is enjoying his first three-game win streak as the Hoosiers bench boss. "A span at the end of the first half through about the ten minute mark of the second half where we went on a 27-3 run and that says a lot about our defense, a lot about it."
The Delta Devils were coming off a 72-70 near upset of Georgia on Friday night and scored the first seven points of the game. The Hoosiers went on an 8-0 run t take their first lead, but MVSU hung tough and led for most of the first half. Jason Holmes would hit a layup with 3:36 left in the half to give the visitors their final lead at 23-22.
Junior Verdell Jones III had a steal and a layup with 43 ticks left in the half to make it 24-23 and sophomore Jordan Hulls drained a three-pointer just before halftime as the hosts went into the dressing room with a 27-23 advantage.
"I felt like a hockey coach in the first half with how quick we were putting guys in and out because it just appeared it was going to be that kind of game," added Crean.
Because of the Hoosiers bench posting 32 points and 18 rebounds, Indiana was able to pull away and build a 49-26 lead with 10:27 left in the game.
"I think it says a lot about our guys to outscore their bench 32 to 9, because they're coming off a game where they had 35 bench points against Georgia," said Crean. "So that was really, really important."
Sophomore Christian Watford led the way for IU with 18 points, nine rebounds and three assists, but freshmen Will Sheehey added nine points, five boards and two steals off the bench in 11 minutes. Fellow frosh Victor Oladipo also added nine points and three boards.
Sophomore Bobby Capobianco had six points and three rebounds, junior Daniel Moore added five points, an assist and steal, senior Jeremiah Rivers played outstanding defense and had six rebounds.
Sophomores Jordan Hulls had seven points and five assists, sophomore Maurice Creek added seven points and , junior Verdell Jones had five points, four assists and three steals. Junior Tom Pritchard had two points and four rebounds. Sophomore Derek Elston had three points and two boards and left the game after a Delta Devil hit his left knee.
"Our guys' attention was really strong on what we had to do. Christian (Watford) played an outstanding game and played long stretches where he just continued to get better," noted Crean. I thought Jordan (Hulls) had an excellent game in a lot of respects. An amazing stat, Victor Oladipo in 15 minutes had a plus 30 on the plus-minus. That's a lot of energy being displayed out there. I'm really happy that Will Sheehey was able to come in and get confidence inside of the game because he was ready for that. It was a team effort. I could talk about a lot of guys. Daniel Moore didn't play as many minutes, but he played really quality minutes. Bobby Capobianco and Jeremiah Rivers both gave us solid minutes."
The Hoosiers will return to Assembly Hall for a 1 p.m., game on Sunday against Evansville.